MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Saturday, the Shelby County Health Department allowed more University of Memphis fans inside the Liberty Bowl to cheer on the Tigers football team as they played an incredibly exciting game against the University of Central Florida.
The Tigers won in dramatic fashion with the largest comeback in program history.
Saturday afternoon, thousands more Tigers fans headed into the Liberty Bowl than the first home game in early September.
4,500 fans were allowed at that game against Arkansas State with 12 feet social distancing required.
Saturday, a sold out crowd of 10,554 fans attended the game against UCF after the Shelby County Health Department loosened the social distance requirement to 6 feet.
“We’re happy that they expanded in doing that and so it gives all us Tiger’s fans the opportunity to get a chance to root on our team,” Tammy Franklin said, whose daughter in on Memphis POM dance team.
The increased attendance allowed parents of students associated with the Tiger program to see their kids perform.
“This is her first time actually performing, so it’s really a double whammy for us, so we’re really excited and we’re so proud of her,” Franklin said.
And after the game, every passing fan had something to say as they celebrated the big win. All were glad they got to witness the Tigers beat UCF for the first time in 13 matchups against the Knights, using the largest comeback in program history to pull out the victory.
“It don’t get much better than that! We’re so excited to beat UCF,” Ron and Donna Budynas said.
“What an amazing game,” Trey Britt said.
“I enjoyed every minute of it dawg,” Kendall Hunter said. “Just seeing the boys come out and pull that thing out in the end was just right on time for us.”
Fans also said they thought the mask and social distance requirements were followed closely by most fans during the nationally televised game.
“They were enforcing it, we saw a few people get kicked out for not wearing masks,” Ron and Donna Budynas said. “And they came by and told people several times to put their masks on, most of them were really compliant, it was nice to see everybody have their mask on.”
“Think what you want about the mask, at the end of the day it’s common decency, right? If one person thinks the mask is better then you should wear your mask to be a nice person frankly,” Tom Cassidy said.
A huge comeback victory for the Tigers and fans told me they hope the social distancing and wearing masks helped keep everyone healthy so they can be back to watch more exciting Tigers victories this season.
The Tigers play Temple next Saturday in the Liberty Bowl. The game kicks off at 11 a.m.